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Tag Archives: Irish Traditional Music

Jenny Dang the Weaver (D)

There is a view that the title of this reel was originally something like “The Jenny Damned the Weavers,” and that it concerns the way technology (i.e., a Jenny = an engine = machines) undermines traditional activity (e.g., weaving).  However, on Arty McGlynn’s CD McGynn’s Fancy (1994) Benedict Kiely writes that there are several tunes […]

Beare Island (Emix|Edor)

This reel was composed by West Cork accordionist Finbar Dwyer, but is sometimes claimed to be the work of Paddy Fahy.  It is on the Kevin Burke and Mícheál Ó Domhnaill album Portland (1982), as well as Mick Conneely’s Selkie (1999). It’s a two-part reel played AABB, with the A-part in Emix and the B-part […]

Home Ruler (D)

The hornpipe “Home Ruler” was composed in the 1960’s by the co. Antrim fiddler Frank McCollam. In sessions it is sometimes called “Home Rule” or “Daniel O’Connell, the Home Ruler” and thought to commend the belief in Irish Home Rule championed by, for example, Daniel O’Connell (1775-1847) and James Brown Armour (1841–1928).  You will also find […]

The Wonder (G)

This hornpipe is on De Dannan’s CD Hibernian Rhapsody (1996), the second of two tunes on track 10 “New Century” and “The Wonder,” collectively called “George Ross’ Horn Pipes.”  This tune was recorded by the Wexford accordionist George Ross in the 1950s (which is apparently where members of De Dannan picked it up), but it […]

Girl Who Broke My Heart (Gmix)

The reel “Girl Who Broke My Heart” is in Gmix, but in some settings there are the occasional B flats à la Kevin Burke’s If the Cap Fits (1978).  As a result it is sometimes thought to be in other keys/modes.  This tune, though not a girl, inspires discussions that can break your heart if […]

Atholl Highlanders (Amix)

The four-part jig “Atholl Highlanders” is originally a Shetland tune, and originally called “The Three Sisters.”  I don’t think anyone has called it by the original name for a very long time, however. It is a characteristic Scots pipe march, though there are some odd things about it. As a pipe march it is known […]

Jig of Slurs (D|G)

Though Scottish musicians so often assert that Irish tunes are “originally Scottish” that the very claim is now met with an unbelieving shrug, in this case it happens to be true.  It was composed by the Aberdeen piper George S. McLennan (1883-1927), who played before Queen Victoria as a boy.  According to the Fiddler’s Companion, in 1910 […]

Arthur Darley’s (D | Daeol |D)

This tune, “Arthur Darley’s Jig,” is also commonly known as “The Swedish Jig” and less well-known as “The Bruckless Shore.”  On the Arty McGlynn CD McGlynn’s Fancy (1994) the liner notes read “Arthur Darley arrived in Co. Donegal from Dublin to play the organ in a church somewhere around, it is believed, Bruckless.” Arthur W. […]

Concertina Reel (D)

The English concertina was invented by Sir Charles Wheatstone in 1829, and the German version invented by Carl Friedrich Uhlig in 1834.  These seem to be independent inventions. It is a hand-held bellows-driven free reed instruments, with reeds made of brass and later steel. The English concertina is unisonoric, giving the same note per button, […]

Gravel Walks (Ador)

This reel, “Gravel Walks” or “The Gravel Walks,” is also called “The Gravelled Walks to Granny,” and “Jenny Tie your Bonnet.” In Vallely’s  Fiddler’s Companion Caoimhin Mac Aoidh writes that Granny (or sometimes Grainne or Cranny) is a secluded and unpopulated glen between Ardara (pronounces Ar-DRA) and Glencolmcille (pronounced Glen-CULLIM-kill) in southwest co. Donegal.  People […]